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What to do about my daughter's friend who keeps getting hickeys? How to talk with my daughter about this?

"My 13 yr. old daughter has a friend that keeps getting hickeys..yea hickeys! My daughter keeps asking me questions about how,why, and things. I found out the lil girls parents are going through a divorce. I feel that may have a lot to do with the reaching out to the boys. But I don't know how to or even if I should talk with my daughter about this! Also I am all for helping the lil girl cause it's not her fault. But I know that she's really getting too close to boys. I have tried to talk to the lil girls mom. But that was a dead end. She just wasn't interested. If I can see it, you know the daughter can! Any advise on this??"

Asked by Donna after reading the article, "Your Middle Schooler's Social Life": http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Middl...
In Topics: Teen sexuality and dating, Communicating with my child (The tough talks)
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Aug 27, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Donna,

Thanks for a great question.

Ah, hickeys. Just last week, I saw a young teen with a huge hickey walking down the aisle of a sporting event (with some element of pride, it appeared), and I began thinking about the psychology surrounding hickeys for the teens who are "necking" and for their peers. Definitely a complicated landscape, for sure. Now wonder your daughter is asking so many questions!

I think that you should talk with your daughter about hickeys, boys, dating, in general. She is asking questions, so she is clearly interested and trying to learn more. Better yet, she finds your opinion valuable, and she wishes for you to help educate her. If she asks again, you will have an obvious opening. If she does not ask within the next few days, you should choose a time of the day when there is more quiet (riding in the car from soccer practice or when she is climbing into bed) and gently raise the topic.

I would begin the conversation by saying something like, "I have been thinking about the conversations we have been having about [her friend] and hickeys, and I wanted to talk with you about it further." You can mention that you have noticed that she has a lot of questions, what additional questions does she have? What does she think about hickeys? Has she ever gotten one? Is she interested in getting one?

This is an ideal time to share your own experiences as a young teen with her. Did kids give each other hickeys when you were in school? What was your experience with hickeys? What did you learn? In my experience, kids and teens love hearing about their parent's experiences as kids (it seems hard for kids to imagine that you were ever young or ever had an interest in someone other than her father!). Let her know what your opinion is about hickeys and getting close to boys. Try your best not to be judgmental or preach-y. Your goal is to have a open discussion with your daughter, share your thoughts, and leave the door open for further conversations. Remember, you want your daughter to continue to feel comfortable approaching you about these kinds of topics.

I have also included a link to a great article on talking with your teen below.

Best wishes,

L. Compian, Ph.D.
Child Psychologist
Education.com
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